WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The Big E has officially been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Even though other fairs in the area canceled months ago, the Big E tried to prevent canceling as long as they could. The decision comes after weeks of back and forth between the town and fair officials on whether it was safe to hold the fair.
The announcement to cancel was made late Monday afternoon after fair and town officials went back and forth for weeks trying to decide the future of the fair.
“It’s a shame The Big E won’t be here, I’ve been here 59 years I look forward to it every year, it’s going to be a big hit on everyone here,” said Bobby Dimarco of West Springfield.
In a statement sent to 22News, the Big E said the decision to cancel this year’s fair was made “for the safety of our fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and the broader community.”
Millions of dollars are generated by the event each year which helps not only the Big E but all aspects of the local company.
Memo’s Restuarant is located right across the street from The Big E and annually cooks for some of the fairs workers. Owner Dominic Pompi told 22News though he’ll miss the money it usually brings in…he’ll miss the people more.
“You develop a repertoire with them and they become like family they come in every year,” Pompi said. “I do the cooking for the entertainment, backstage and front stage so we lose out on that but we meet a lot of interesting stars and people and it’s all about the friendships you develop over the years.”
This past weekend, thousands of people traveled to the fairgrounds for the “Taste of the Big E” drive-thru event. Some waited almost five hours in the car line to get their favorite food.
West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt told 22News that drive-thru events like that one will be explored to help generate money. People who purchased concert tickers for the fair’s musical acts will be contacted by the Big E Ticket Office for a full refund.